Anyone who wheels Jeeps has mostly likely done it. It was done to my YJ just before I bought it.
What I’m talking about is chopping the exhaust. Whether it be a rock or your own axle, your exhaust system will get crushed at some point.
The trail fix for this is usually cutting the exhaust pipe off just behind the muffler.
Well, I ignored that mine was cut off too long. Coming home from a wheeling trip (I race on Sunday what I hope to drive on Monday) my ignition coil failed. During the failure, it loaded the exhaust with fuel and expunged everything out the muffler. This is when I suspect my problem really began. It began with a fireball exiting the muffler which was pointed directly at the fuel tank skid plate with the fuel tank inside.
Nothing went wrong immediately. I borrowed an ignition coil off a club mate’s jeep and drove home.
Subsequently, a couple months later, I’m filling up at the station when I notice gas running everywhere. After scrambling for some oil-dry, I was able to see that the fuel was exiting near the tank straps, but that’s all I could diagnose sitting at the pump. The one and only time my Jeep has left me dead on the road, and this was it. I had to call a flatbed truck to take it from Newton (Iowa Speedway) to home.
After ordering a new tank and getting everything torn apart, I noticed the passenger’s side of the tank was severely deformed. It had melted to the skid plate, thinned out, and finally cracked under the pressure of the strap.
This could have been ugly, real ugly. I got lucky.
Moral of the story is, carry a turn-down. You won’t regret it should you have to cut your exhaust.
Best case, a 20 US gallon, fuel tank for a 1994 YJ will run you about $400 delivered.
Worst case, your tank ignites costing whatever your junk is worth, if not your life.
A turn-down will cost about 6 bucks.